Mogwai’s advice to new bands: “Get a good mask and an Irish granny”

The Scottish post-rock legends caught up with NME on the red carpet of the Mercury Prize 2021

Speaking to NME on the red carpet of the Mercury Prize last night (Thursday September 9), Mogwai told us about the secret to their song titles and advice to new and emerging artists. Watch our video interview with the band above.

The Scottish post-rock legends were at the ceremony for their first ever Mercury nomination, having this year scored their first ever Number One with their 10th album ‘As The Love Continues‘.

“You’d think after 25 years would be about the right time to get nominated,” guitarist Barry Burns told NME, before frontman Stuart Braithwaite added: “It’s just really weird. It’s just not something that we’d normally have anything to do with. It’s good to have new, weird experiences.”

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The album – which lost out to Arlo Parks’ Collapsed In Sunbeams’ – once again attracted attention for Mogwai’s knack for idiosyncratic song titles, including ‘Ceiling Granny’ and ‘To The Bin My Friend, Tonight We Vacate Earth’. “There’s not much thought process [behind our titles],” Braithwaite told NME. “It tends to be drunken ramblings and mind farting. A lot of things are misheard. We’re getting old and deaf, so pretty much everything that anyone says to us is something obscure and weird to us.

Burns continued: “For example in the hotel room, Dominic [Aitchison, bass] said to me ‘Will Phallus’, but it was ‘Wolf Alice‘. I was like, ‘Who’s Will Phallus?’ I had no idea what he said, so that’ll probably be on the next record.

Having previously been very vocal on the topic of how Brexit will impact on young touring bands, Braithwaite said that he felt fortunate that the band were in a more established position as they approach the choppy waters of returning to the road.

“To be honest I am probably quite glad that we get to play the size of gigs that we do, because it would be pretty terrifying going out to play gigs to 100 people,” he said. “There are a lot of problems in this world. You can’t just think about them all the time.

Asked for what advice he’d give to new artists attempting to weather the storm of the music industry amid COVID and Brexit, he replied: “Get a good mask and an Irish granny.”

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Watch our full interview with the band above, where they also open up about new TV soundtrack work and the beauty of wiring a plug correctly.

Mogwai will perform a one-off London show at Alexandra Palace on February 25. 

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